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Nancy L Van Devanter


1 212 998 5328

433 First Avenue
Room 670
New York, NY 10010
United States

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Professional overview

Nancy L. Van Devanter, PhD, is a professor at the Rory Meyers College of Nursing. Since the 1990s, she has conducted behavioral intervention research integrating a community-based participatory research approach into the development and testing of theory-driven interventions to promote health and reduce disease in populations with significant health disparities in HIV, STDs, and tobacco-related disease. She has also worked in close collaboration with state and local health departments to develop programs improve community-level health and public health practice. Since coming to NYU, she has been involved in numerous interdisciplinary collaborative studies with the NYU School of Medicine, Dentistry, and Public Health Program.

She received a PhD from Columbia University School of Public Health, MPH from Harvard School of Public Health, and EdM from Boston University.



PhD - Columbia University School of Public Health (1992)
MPH - Harvard School of Public Health (1985)
EdM - Boston University (1975)
BS - Boston University (1974)
Diploma - St Agnes School of Nursing (1964)



Professional membership

American Nurses Association
American Public Health Association
American Sociological Association
Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science
Public Health Association of New York City

Honors and awards

Faculty Honors Awards

Fellow, New York Academy of Medicine (2011)
Fellow, American Academy of Nursing (2011)
Fellowship in STD Prevention Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1999)
Public Health Achievement Award, New York City Department of Health/ Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University (1999)
Commendation, Office the Secretary, US Department of Health and Human Services for contribution to the National AIDS Education Prevention Program (1998)



Barriers to Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment in the Dominican Republic: Perspectives of Focus Group Participants in the Santo Domingo Area

Liebermann, E. J., VanDevanter, N., Shirazian, T., Frías Gúzman, N., Niles, M., Healton, C., & Ompad, D. (2020). Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 31(2), 121-127. 10.1177/1043659619846247
Introduction: Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women in the Dominican Republic, and high rates persist despite existing Pap smear screening programs. The purpose of this study was to explore Dominican women’s knowledge and attitudes regarding human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer, cervical cancer screening practices, and perceived barriers and facilitators to early detection of cervical cancer. Method: Six focus groups (N = 64) were conducted in Spanish in urban, suburban, and rural locations, in private and public school settings, community and workplace settings, in or near Santo Domingo, as part of a larger study on barriers and facilitators to HPV vaccine implementation. Audio recordings were transcribed verbatim and translated from Spanish to English. Qualitative data analysis used inductive and deductive approaches. Results: Knowledge regarding HPV and cervical cancer varied across groups, but all agreed there was significant stigma and fear regarding HPV. Most women reported having Pap screening at least yearly. Follow-up of abnormal Pap testing was less consistent, with cost and uncertainty about provider recommendations identified as barriers. Discussion: Broader examination of provider-level and health system barriers and facilitators to cervical cancer prevention in the Dominican Republic is essential, in order to inform interventions to improve the effectiveness of cervical cancer screening and treatment programs and reduce preventable deaths.

Dominican Provider Practices for Cervical Cancer Screening in Santo Domingo and Monte Plata Provinces

Liebermann, E., Hammer, M. J., Gúzman, N. F., Van Devanter, N., & Ompad, D. (2020). Journal of Cancer Education. 10.1007/s13187-020-01690-9
Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for women in the Dominican Republic. Pap smear screening in the Dominican Republic has not achieved adequate reduction in cervical cancer mortality. The purpose of this study was to examine Dominican provider practices for cervical cancer screening and the use of national or international screening guidelines. We surveyed 101 gynecology specialists, 50 non-specialists, and 51 obstetrics-gynecology residents in the Santo Domingo and Monte Plata provinces of the Dominican Republic regarding their cervical cancer screening practices and use of guidelines. Bivariate (chi-square) analyses were conducted to compare screening practices by demographic and practice characteristics. The majority of providers followed WHO guidelines (62.9%) and/or Dominican national norms (59.4%). The majority (87%) of providers use time since first sexual activity as the basis for screening initiation; 96% advise screening every 6–12 months. The most commonly used screening test is the conventional Pap smear. Colposcopy was recommended most often for all abnormal Pap results. Dominican providers report they follow national and/or international cervical cancer screening guidelines. They do not follow age-based screening guidelines, nor have they adopted an extended interval for screening and continue to recommend screening at least annually. A culture of early and frequent screening has consequences in terms of cost, high demand for follow-up services, and reduced capacity to reach the populations at highest risk. Early screening also may challenge the acceptability of adopting alternative screening technologies such as HPV testing.

Parent-Level Barriers and Facilitators to HPV Vaccine Implementation in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Liebermann, E., Devanter, N. V., Frías Gúzman, N., Ompad, D., Shirazian, T., & Healton, C. (2020). Journal of Community Health, 45(5), 1061-1066. 10.1007/s10900-020-00830-y
Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for women in the Dominican Republic. Vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) could reduce mortality from cervical cancer globally by as much as 90%. The purpose of our study was to explore multi-level barriers and facilitators to implementation of a national HPV vaccine program in the Dominican Republic; this article focuses on parent-level barriers and facilitators. In this qualitative study, we conducted six focus groups (N = 64) with parents of school-age children in the Santo Domingo area of the Dominican Republic, representing diverse socioeconomic groups and geographic settings. Thematic content analysis, using inductive and deductive approaches, was done following transcription and translation of audio-recordings from focus group discussions. Among this group of parents in the Santo Domingo area, facilitators to vaccine uptake were favorable attitudes towards vaccines in general and concern about cervical cancer as a health issue. Barriers found were low to moderate knowledge of HPV and cervical cancer, especially in the rural and suburban groups, and cost and lack of public awareness of the vaccine. This study identified key barriers and facilitators to HPV vaccine implementation in the Dominican Republic. Health messaging, incorporating specialist providers as opinion leaders, will need to be tailored to broad audiences with varying levels of information and awareness, anticipating misinformation and concerns, and will need to emphasize HPV vaccine as a method to prevent cancer.

Effectiveness of Village Health Worker-Delivered Smoking Cessation Counseling in Vietnam

Jiang, N., Siman, N., Cleland, C. M., Van Devanter, N., Nguyen, T., Nguyen, N., & Shelley, D. (2019). Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 21(11), 1524-1530. 10.1093/ntr/nty216
Introduction: Smoking prevalence is high in Vietnam, yet tobacco dependence treatment (TDT) is not widely available. Methods: We conducted a quasiexperimental study that compared the effectiveness of health care provider advice and assistance (ARM 1) versus ARM 1 plus village health worker (VHW) counseling (ARM 2) on abstinence at 6-month follow-up. This study was embedded in a larger two-arm cluster randomized controlled trial conducted in 26 community health centers (CHCs) in Vietnam. Subjects (N = 1318) were adult patients who visited any participating CHC during the parent randomized controlled trial intervention period and were self-identified as current tobacco users (cigarettes and/or water pipe). Results: At 6-month follow-up, abstinences rates in ARM 2 were significantly higher than those in ARM 1 (25.7% vs. 10.5%; p <. 001). In multivariate analyses, smokers in ARM 2 were almost three times more likely to quit compared with those in ARM 1 (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.96, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.78% to 4.92%). Compared to cigarette-only smokers, water pipe-only smokers (AOR = 0.4, 95% CI = 0.26% to 0.62%) and dual users (AOR = 0.62, 95% CI = 0.45% to 0.86%) were less likely to achieve abstinence; however, the addition of VHW counseling (ARM 2) was associated with higher quit rates compared with ARM 1 alone for all smoker types. Conclusion: A team approach in TDT programs that offer a referral system for health care providers to refer smokers to VHW-led cessation counseling is a promising and potentially scalable model for increasing access to evidence-based TDT and increasing quit rates in low middle-income countries (LMICs). TDT programs may need to adapt interventions to improve outcomes for water pipe users. Implications: The study fills literature gaps on effective models for TDT in LMICs. The addition of VHW-led cessation counseling, available through a referral from primary care providers in CHCs in Vietnam, to health care provider's brief cessation advice, increased 6-month biochemically validated abstinence rates compared to provider advice alone. The study also demonstrated the potential effectiveness of VHW counseling on reducing water pipe use. For LMICs, TDT programs in primary care settings with a referral system to VHW-led cessation counseling might be a promising and potentially scalable model for increasing access to evidence-based treatment.

On the way to Hepatitis C elimination in the Republic of Georgia—Barriers and facilitators for people who inject drugs for engaging in the treatment program: A formative qualitative study

Chikovani, I., Ompad, D. C., Uchaneishvili, M., Sulaberidze, L., Sikharulidze, K., Hagan, H., & Van Devanter, N. L. (2019). PloS One, 14(4). 10.1371/journal.pone.0216123
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a significant public health concern worldwide. Georgia is among the countries with a high burden of HCV infection. People who inject drugs (PWID) have the highest burden of infection in Georgia. In 2015, the Government of Georgia, with partners’ support, initiated one of the world’s first Hepatitis C Elimination Programs. Despite notable progress, challenges to achieving targets persist. This qualitative study is aimed to better understand some of the barriers and facilitators to HCV testing and treatment services for PWID to inform HCV treatment policies and practices. The study instrument examined social, structural, and individual factors influencing HCV testing and treatment practices. We started with key informant interviews to guide the study instrument development and compare the study findings against health care planners’ and health care providers’ views. Forty PWID with various HCV testing and treatment experiences were recruited through the snowball method. The study found that along with structural factors such as political commitment, co-financing of diagnostic and monitoring tests, and friendly clinic environments, knowledge about HCV infection and elimination program benefits, and support from family and peers also play facilitating roles in accessing testing and treatment services. On the other hand, inability to co-pay for diagnostic tests, fear of side effects associated with treatment, poor knowledge about HCV infection, and lack of social support hampered testing and treatment practices among PWID. Findings from this study are important for increasing the effectiveness of this unique program that targets a population at high risk of HCV infection.

Social norms and self-efficacy to quit waterpipe use: Findings from a tobacco study among male smokers in rural Viet Nam

Kumar, P. C., Cleland, C. M., Latkin, C., VanDevanter, N., Siman, N., Nguyen, T., Nguyen, L., Nguyen, N., & Shelley, D. (2018). Journal of Smoking Cessation, 13(3), 154-161. 10.1017/jsc.2017.20
Introduction: Waterpipe use is a significant health concern in low- A nd middle-income countries like Viet Nam, yet there is a lack of research on factors that may influence use and self-efficacy to quit among adults. Aims: This study examined the relationship between social norms related to waterpipe use and self-efficacy to quit among male waterpipe smokers in Viet Nam. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted with 214 adult male waterpipe smokers enrolled in a large cluster-randomised controlled trial conducted in a rural province in Viet Nam. Associations between social norms related to waterpipe smoking and the participants' confidence to quit waterpipes were assessed using hierarchical regression models to account for differences among study sites and other covariates. Results: Self-efficacy to quit smoking was positively associated with immediate family members' not minding participants smoking and with extended family's encouragement to quit smoking. Conclusions: The findings suggest the need for a more comprehensive understanding of the functions and characteristics of the social context of waterpipe smoking, including the social networks of waterpipe smokers, to inform effective cessation interventions for waterpipe smokers.

Tobacco cessation in Vietnam: Exploring the role of village health workers

Nguyen, N., Nguyen, T., Chapman, J., Nguyen, L., Kumar, P., VanDevanter, N., & Shelley, D. (2018). Global Public Health, 13(9), 1265-1275. 10.1080/17441692.2017.1360376
The purpose of this study was to explore current tobacco use treatment (TUT) practice patterns, and attitudes and beliefs among Village Health Workers (VHWs) about expanding their role to include delivering smoking cessation interventions and the perceived barriers. We conducted a survey of 449 VHWs from 26 communes in Thai Nguyen province, Vietnam. We assessed TUT practice patterns including asking about tobacco use, advising smokers to quit, offering assistance (3As) and attitudes, self-efficacy, and norms related to TUT. Seventy two per cent of VHWs reported asking patients if they use tobacco, 78.6% offered advice to quit, and 41.4% offered cessation assistance to few or more patients in the past month. Self-efficacy was low, with 53.2% agreeing that they did not have the skills to counsel patients about smoking cessation. The most commonly reported barriers to offering TUT were a lack of training and perceived lack of patient interest. Greater awareness of their commune health centre’s smoke-free policy and higher levels of self-efficacy were associated with screening and offering cessation assistance. VHWs support an expanded role in tobacco cessation, but require additional resources and training to increase their self-efficacy and skills to provide effective treatment.

Application of the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research to assess factors that may influence implementation of tobacco use treatment guidelines in the Viet Nam public health care delivery system

VanDevanter, N., Kumar, P., Nguyen, N., Nguyen, L., Nguyen, T., Stillman, F., Weiner, B., & Shelley, D. (2017). Implementation Science : IS, 12(1), 27. 10.1186/s13012-017-0558-z
CONCLUSIONS: In this study, CFIR provided a valuable framework for evaluating factors that may influence implementation of a systems-level intervention for tobacco control in a LMIC and understand what adaptations may be needed to translate a model of care delivery from a HIC to a LMIC.TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT02564653 . Registered September 2015.BACKGROUND: Services to treat tobacco dependence are not readily available to smokers in low-middle income countries (LMICs) where smoking prevalence remains high. We are conducting a cluster randomized controlled trial comparing the effectiveness of two strategies for implementing tobacco use treatment guidelines in 26 community health centers (CHCs) in Viet Nam. Guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR), prior to implementing the trial, we conducted formative research to (1) identify factors that may influence guideline implementation and (2) inform further modifications to the intervention that may be necessary to translate a model of care delivery from a high-income country (HIC) to the local context of a LMIC.METHODS: We conducted semi-structured qualitative interviews with CHC medical directors, health care providers, and village health workers (VHWs) in eight CHCs (n = 40). Interviews were transcribed verbatim and translated into English. Two qualitative researchers used both deductive (CFIR theory driven) and inductive (open coding) approaches to analysis developed codes and themes relevant to the aims of this study.RESULTS: The interviews explored four out of five CFIR domains (i.e., intervention characteristics, outer setting, inner setting, and individual characteristics) that were relevant to the analysis. Potential facilitators of the intervention included the relative advantage of the intervention compared with current practice (intervention characteristics), awareness of the burden of tobacco use in the population (outer setting), tension for change due to a lack of training and need for skill building and leadership engagement (inner setting), and a strong sense of collective efficacy to provide tobacco cessation services (individual characteristics). Potential barriers included the perception that the intervention was more complex (intervention characteristic) and not necessarily compatible (inner setting) with current workflows and staffing historically designed to address infectious disease prevention and control rather than chronic disease prevention and competing priorities that are determined by the MOH (outer setting).

Challenges and Resources for Nurses Participating in a Hurricane Sandy Hospital Evacuation

VanDevanter, N., Raveis, V. H., Kovner, C. T., McCollum, M., & Keller, R. (2017). Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 49(6), 635-643. 10.1111/jnu.12329
Purpose: Weather-related disasters have increased dramatically in recent years. In 2012, severe flooding as a result of Hurricane Sandy necessitated the mid-storm patient evacuation of New York University Langone Medical Center. The purpose of this study was to explore, from the nurses’ perspective, what the challenges and resources were to carrying out their responsibilities, and what the implications are for nursing education and preparation for disaster. Design: This mixed-methods study included qualitative interviews with a purposive sample of nurses and an online survey of nurses who participated in the evacuation. Methods: The interviews explored prior disaster experience and training, communication, personal experience during the evacuation, and lessons learned. The cross-sectional survey assessed social demographic factors, nursing education and experience, as well as potential challenges and resources in carrying out their disaster roles. Findings: Qualitative interviews provided important contextual information about the specific challenges nurses experienced and their ability to respond effectively. Survey data identified important resources that helped nurses to carry out their roles, including support from coworkers, providing support to others, personal resourcefulness, and leadership. Nurses experienced considerable challenges in responding to this disaster due to limited prior disaster experience, training, and education, but drew on their personal resourcefulness, support from colleagues, and leadership to adapt to those challenges. Conclusions: Disaster preparedness education in schools of nursing and practice settings should include more hands-on disaster preparation exercises, more “low-tech” options to address power loss, and specific policies on nurses’ disaster roles. Clinical Relevance: Nurses play a critical role in responding to disasters. Learning from their disaster experience can inform approaches to nursing education and preparation.

Enabling a Disaster-Resilient Workforce: Attending to Individual Stress and Collective Trauma

Raveis, V. H., VanDevanter, N., Kovner, C. T., & Gershon, R. (2017). Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 49(6), 653-660. 10.1111/jnu.12340
Purpose: Superstorm Sandy forced the evacuation and extended shutdown of New York University Langone Medical Center. This investigation explored how nurses were impacted by the disasters and how they can best be supported in their nursing responsibilities. Design: Sequential mixed methods were used to explore the psychosocial issues nurses experienced throughout the course of this natural disaster and its lingering aftermath. Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted from April to June 2013 with a subsample of nurses who participated in the evacuation deployment (n = 16). An anonymous, Internet-based cross-sectional survey sent to all registered nurses employed at the hospital at the time of the storm explored storm impact and recovery. Between July and September 2013, 528 surveys were completed. Findings: The qualitative data revealed challenges in balancing professional obligations and personal concerns. Accounts described dealing in the immediate recovery period with unexpected job changes and resultant work uncertainty. The storm's lingering aftermath did not signify restoration of their predisaster lifestyle for some, but necessitated coping with this massive storm's long-lasting impact on their personal lives and communal loss. Conclusions: Nurses working under the rapidly changing, uncontrolled, and potentially dangerous circumstances of a weather-related disaster are also experiencing concerns about their families’ welfare and worries about personal loss. These multiple issues increase the psychosocial toll on nurses during a disaster response and impending recovery. Clinical Relevance: Awareness of concerns and competing demands nurses experience in a disaster and aftermath can inform education and services to enable nurses to perform their critical functions while minimizing risk to patients and themselves.

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